tv CNN Newsroom CNN April 24, 2013 6:00am-8:00am PDT
point" this morning. i'm christine romans. continuing live team coverage of the aftermath of the boston marathon bombings, continues right now with wolf blitzer in boston. >> thanks very much, christine. before the sun rises, boston tries to vanquish the nightmare. city workers scrub away blood stains and remove bricks, marred by last week's bombing. boyleston street inches toward a new sense of normalcy. good morning, i'm wolf blitzer, reporting live from here in boston. there have been several major developments coming out of the boston this morning. let's get you caught up right now on all of them. this morning, boylston street, right behind me, reopens, the
epicenter, reopening to pedestrians but not vehicles. and not yet. insult to injury, the families of those wounded in the attacks are outraged. they are demanding the two terror suspects be moved from the same hospital where the alleged victims are now recovering. and next stop in the investigation, dagestan. u.s. officials arrive in the russian republic to interview the parents of the accused killer. let's take a look at the reopening of boylston street in the heart of boston. crews worked to replace bricks and repair the damaged sidewalks at locations where bombs exploded, and we're on the scene, it seems like life in the boylston street area is getting back to normal. >> well there, is a huge sense of relief and they are repairing bricks and mortar, but the memories will be harder to repair. this is the memorial -- this
stuff was all along boyleston street, wolf, and they brought it all here, to copley square in order to have people -- have a place to basically gather. i want to show you, this is the folks from the starbucks, right down the way, they brought an apron here, all of the colleagues sign it, forgive, but never forget. also, a lot of t-shirts along here as well. this one in particular, we pray, we love, literally people giving the shirts off their back. one of the more touching things we saw today, this is shoes everywhere, boston strong obviously everywhere here, really lovely sign with the shoes hanging off of it, and hats. the number of hats that people left here as well is quite impressive. one other thing, and a lot of dolls, a little stuffed animals and tons of flowers obviously. this one quite sweet. there is volunteers as well managing all of this. this baseball in memory of
martin. love brandon age 2. and below it, a little band that says believe in boston. really sweet to see this sitting on the bench by itself. i want to talk to two folks who work on the street. amanda and mary. >> yes. >> you have been off the last week, one, what's it like to have boylston street back open again? >> it feels overwhelming mostly. it will be a while before anything really feels normal again. nice to have everything back open and back in business. >> reporter: what's the last week been like for you? >> it's been a struggle, but we all came together and supported each other, our company has been fantastic. our boss has been unbelievable in bringing us all together, getting us through it. >> reporter: i didn't realize and appreciate is boston -- bostonians are tough people. i mean, people want to get back to normal here. does it feel like normal yet? >> not yet.
i think it's going to be a while before anything feels normal again. but we're getting one step closer today by opening everything back up. >> reporter: how big a deal is it to have boyleston reopen? how major a piece of the city is this? >> it means a lot. this is the bustling area of the city, the hub of everything, and it's important that it's opening up and everyone can come here to remember what happened. >> reporter: okay. thank you very much. have a lovely day at work. glad are you all back. >> thank you. >> reporter: i want to show you one thing over here as well. this wall, goes all the way along. see the t-shirts along the barriers they have set up here and this is -- it's funny, i walk around this, everybody scatters and runs away, but this is quite lovely as well. all the tennis shoes people have left. literally the shoes off their feet for this pretty impressive to see all the way around, wolf. if we could come -- let's go all the way over here, right to the center of the memorial.
because this is sort of a -- the centerpiece of it. three crosses with those who have died. krystle camp bet, lingzi lu, and martin richard. this is where people come to reflect to try to get beyond the terrible day nine days ago. >> the folks you are talking to, they are relieved that boylston street, such a powerful symbolic part of this city finally back to normal? >> a lot of relief. it's nearly palpable, nice to see traffic going up and down boyleston, cross traffic. with boylston shut, you can't get across the city. it makes it a night player, but beyond that, the city doesn't feel normal and now the buses, the sirens, just feels like a
normal city again. starting to come back. >> really pleased to hear that. miguel, thank you. also learning more about the possible charges against the suspected boston marathon bomber, dzhokhar tsavraev, including the lack of state murder charges, ashleigh banfield joins us now. you spoke with the sussex county district attorney. what did he tell you about pending charges? >> reporter: well, he certainly told me that while many were wondering there would be a state prosecution alongside the federal prosecution, we know that some of the charges outlines against the man who is recovering behind me in this hospital, there will not be a state-level prosecution with regard to bombings, that doesn't necessarily apply to the m.i.t. officer, sean collier, who is remembered today by colleagues,
that's another county over the river. middlesex county prosecutors may, in fact, go after crimes again dzhokhar tsavraev in their own right there is a murder there, and there is a number of crimes to prosecut s prosecute potentially. according to the d.a. here in this county, they are considering that. but at this point, this county won't go after the three murders that happened here and the explosive devices, but the feds are well equipped to handle that. here is what the d.a. told us on camera yesterday, the decision to make that plan. go ahead and assist the prosecutor this is d.a. dan conley. >> for the boston marathon bombings, i would say almost certainly not. those murder charges will more than likely, almost certainly be subsumed in the federal
indictments in the months to come. >> reporter: the district attorney went on to say, they reserve the right to re-invigorate essentially if other investigative bits of information lead to additional charges that could be charged at the state level. a bit arcane, but it means that if there are perhaps coconspirators that come to light, different kinds of weapons charges that could be charged well at the state level, they could enter into the game at that point. but now leaving this to the feds. one thing extraordinarily interesting that the d.a. told us exclusively at cnn, dzhokhar tsavraev, as he continues to improve, his condition has been fair actually quite some time believe it or not. there is the problem. there are other victim family members who are not the least bit happy that he is being treated at the same facility that the alleged victims of him are being treated. and there is this consternation according to the d.a. this is the thought, perhaps in the next
few days, getting him out of here, potentially moving him to another hospital. have a listen to what the d.a. tells us about that. >> i don't have any direction communication with the united states attorney on this, but i have been told that there is some concern that this defendant is being treated at the same hospital where victims are at, so that's natural, you can see how victims would be upset. before releasing the defendant to federal custody and the prison system, perhaps they will release them to other hospitals where victim families are not located. >> key be moved to another hospital in the area before he ends up incarcerated. >> we have a lot of good hospitals in the area, and not every one is treating victims, so that's a possible i think. >> reporter: district attorney conley says the timing of the movement of the defendant is solely up to the doctors, to determine if he's well enough to
be transported there is the possibility he could leap frog another facility and taken straight to an incarceration facility. when i asked where will they be holding him until he stands trial for this? which could be somewhere between 12 and 18 months from now, he suggested high likelihood, the mci clinic. massachusetts correctional clinic in pluymouth, they don't have the kind of facility to look at someone in critical condition, but they do have the possibility to treat him. one more thing to tell you, wolf. when i asked the d.a. if he was prosecuting this case, given the amount of evidence and the quality of the evidence, that he knows of just this far, how strong a case is it? he thought it was incredibly strong and would absolutely lead to a conviction. >> good stuff, ashley. thank you very much, ashleigh banfield reporting for us.
we appreciate it. the massachusetts boat owner who discovered dzhokhar tsavraev in his backyard is telling his story. david henneberry told our affiliate wtvb that everything happened when he went outside to fix something on his boat. >> no indication of anything. i know people say there was blood on the boat, saw blood and went in? not -- >> reporter: not true. >> not true. >> reporter: the word is you saw the boat, pulled back the wrappi wrapping, saw a body, it moved and you called 911. >> no. >> reporter: he went to the garage and grabbed a step ladder. >> got three steps up the ladder, rolled it up and i could see through the shrink-wrap. i didn't expect to see anything, and i look in the boat over here, and look on the floor, and i see blood.
and. >> reporter: a lot of blood? >> a good amount of blood and my eyes went to the other side of the engine box, the engine box in the middle. it was a body. >> reporter: at that moment, what did you do? what were you thinking at that moment? >> oh, my god. >> reporter: he couldn't see suspect number two's face. glad he couldn't see his face. >> i took three steps up the ladder, i don't remember stepping off down the ladder. >> reporter: and you run in the house. >> yeah. >> reporter: immediately call 911. people are calling you a national hero. >> incidental hero. i -- i wasn't out on the prowl, i was out to see my boat, and i stumbled across this. >> henneberry says he's glad to bring closure to the victims' families. according to comments from this unsung hero, at least until now. meanwhile, the united states wants to question the bombing suspect's parents at their home
in southern russia. a delegation from the u.s. embassy in moscow arrived in dagestan earlier this morning. the suspect's mother said she believes her sons were framed. a u.s. official says the russian government is cooperating in the investigation. from u.s. senators are defending the fbi, saying they don't believe the agency dropped ball on the investigation on tamerlan tsavraev. agents questioned him back in 2011 at russia's request and didn't find anything. crime and justice correspondent joe johns joins us from washington. working the story for us. a lot of people wondering if the fbi, in fact, did miss something. >> that's true, wolf. and the u.s. government gets thousands of tips from foreign governments to check people out. but in the case of tamerlan tsavraev, the question being asked now is whether the feds had enough information to do more than they did in the two years before the boston bombing.
tamerlan tsavraev first hit the fbi's radar when the russian government said they should check him out. >> the russian government sent a letter, we think this guy has become radicalized, you should watch him. >> reporter: he was a follower of radical islam and a strong believer that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the united states for travel to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups. the fbi says it checked u.s. government data basses, telephone communications, online activity, and also actually interviewed tamerlan tsavraev and family members. but the fbi said it did not find any terrorism activity so it gave that information to russia and asked for, but did not receive more specific or additional info. case closed. >> because additional information didn't come in, then the fbi says for our purposes
under our system and with all the records and investigation we're allowed to do here, it hasn't risen to the level to warrant further investigation or full-time surveillance. >> reporter: a federal law enforce official agrees, tamerlan, not on a terror watchlist or any no-fly list. no alarm bells when tsavraev came back to the u.s. >> by the time he return, the matter had been closed. >> reporter: it's not clear if the department of homeland security, charged with monitoring travel, even knew tsavraev was on the fbi's radar. talking to each other was supposed to be a lesson from 9/11. >> we are trying to make all of the information available was shared if it wasn't, then there may be somebody who dropped the ball. >> reporter: and that's the takeaway. much of the concern right now in
washington, is about 9/11 and if the national security system has to relearn those lessons, wolf. >> and the lessons are going to be studies and studied and studied to make sure they aren't repeated. joe johns in washington. the suspect's uncle says that tamerlan tsavraev was brainwashed by a friend at cambridge, what does that mean for the investigation? more of our special coverage, that's next. ♪
be ready. for high fever, nothing works faster or lasts longer. be ready with children's motrin. welcome back. i'm wolf blitzer in boston. the uncle of the boston bombing suspects says tamerlan tsavraev was brainwashed by a friends at cambridge. the man was armenian, and influenced tamerlan's behavior starting in 2009. this is a serious man was a convert to islam. the uncle would not name the man. other reports have identified him only as misha. with us now, fran townsend,
national security analyst, former homeland security adviser under george w. bush. fran, will investigators be looking for this man, supposedly name ed misha, how does he fit into all of this? >> look, wolf, they have an extraordinary amount of information. this is the sort of information that will go to the very top. why? because of, of course, they want to know all of the connections of the suspects, and they want to know, were there other coconspirators, as part of that inquiry, they want to identify misha,an how he fit into the brother's lives. did he inspire, direct them, what role if any, did misha play in terms of how they became radicalized and began to think, and did he -- does misha have any connection to islamist and radicals overseas? >> that's a key point if, in
fact there, was a misha, was he acting alone or connected to some groups? excellent questions for investigators to look at. they have also been taking a look at some of the comments, some of statements, some of the occasions co indications from sdpldzhokhar tsavraev. he said he never had any contact with terrorist groups and that both of the brothers were radicalized over the internet. here is the question. are federal investigators skeptical of anything this guy says? >> they will be skeptical of everything they say. this is out of jihadist playbook, if you will, these alleged grievances, defending belief in islam, objection to u.s. troop presence in iraq and afghanistan, you recall, wolf, there was a time when bin laden
objected to western troop presence in the arabian peninsula. particularly in the kingdom of saudi arabia. they were removed and continued al qaeda and bin laden to launch acts. some of this is just propaganda, what you usually hear from captured suspects. but this self-radicalized part, it will be interesting, we know investigators are looking at what sorts of things on the internet? was it the i spire magazine put out by "inspire," did he listen to anwar al awlaki, the now-dead cleric, whose lectures are well published and distributed and were listened to someone like nadal hasan, the ft. hood shooter? those are the sorts of things that investigators will look at and it was about how they thought and who their contacts were, which remains very important. >> tsavraev also told
investigators in the hospital room that the wars in iraq and afghanistan were the motivators behind these attacks at the boston marathon, what does that say to the investigators? >> wolf, i'm not sure it says much. there is nothing that dzhokhar can say to justify the horrific attacks and nobody will much care, even if what he's saying is true. but as we have said, investigators will be very skeptical of any excuse he gives or proffers. investigators frankly are much more interested in what the facts are. what did he look at? what actually influenced his thinking, and who did he deal with? where did he obtain explosives? very, very fact oriented for investigators. prosecutors don't have to prove a motive. whether or not jo har says motive, the military actions in
iraq and afghanistan, whatever motive doesn't matter. they used a weapon of mass destruction to kill americans and proving that is really what the investigators will remain focused on. >> fran townsend, national security analyst, thank you very much for that analysis. still adhere, authorities clear an elvis impersonator of sending letters laced with ricin to president obama. what paul kevin curtis is saying about his arrest. a lot more news from boston and the world, when we come back.
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is cleared for sending ricin tainted letters to the president. victor blackwell has more. >> reporter: ta house is being searched, but there is no confirmation of how it's related. >> la about the man that was released? what can you tell us? >> he was released yesterday on a $25,000 bond and by early evening, the charges dropped altogether, and paul kevin curtis says it feels like a train has been lifted off his shoulders. when authorities released paul kevin curtis, he was eager to set the record straight. >> i respect president obama, i love my country and would never do anything to post a threat to him or any other u.s. official. >> reporter: curtis accused of sending ricin laced letters to president obama, roger wicker in
washington and a county judge in mississippi. charges were dropped. u.s. attorney felisha adams says new information became available. and in a bizarre turn, curtis says he's a victim of a plot by a man holding a grudge against him. he told piers morgan, they have been feuding for years. >> showing up on my radar, people coming in town, do you know this guy hates you? i never knew why. >> curtis' attorney says information on social media used to frame her client. >> the government was able to basically find another suspect who we believe is the true perpetrator of this heinous crime. >> reporter: curtis crimes how he felt. >> the state of over overwhelmed is the best way i described. i thought they said rice. i don't even eat rice. >> curtis is a father, political activist and elvis impersonator
and ready to move on. >> this past week has been a nature meyer for myself and my family. my mother has suffered as well as my children. i would like to get back to normal, which for me means being the best father i can be to my children, supporting my favorite charity, stable life foundation and entertaining through my music. >> reporter: now, we know those letters that were mailed to the president and senator wicker of mississippi, mailed to washington, they never reached those two men, but the third letter that was laced with ricin did reach 80-year-old sadie holland, a judge in tupelo, we spoke with her son, a state representative in mississippi, he says his mother opened the letter, saw a cloud of dust, took a sniff, she says something ain't right, called the sheriff. when she was checked out, we know she is in perfect health and has no side effects from the sniff of the powder inside the letter, wolf. >> good news on that front.
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good morning. i'm wolf blitzer, welcome to a special edition of "news room" live from boston. a lot of new developments in the marathon bombings, let's get all of you caught up to speed. nine days after the attack s boylston street reopened. workers scrubbed blood stains and replaced bricks to remove the painful reminders of the i violence. also, new outrage from the families of those wounded in the attack, demanding that the
terror suspect, dzhokhar tsavraev, be transferred from the same hospital where the alleged victims are recovering. and this morning, u.s. officials are in southern russia. there to interview the parents of the teen aage suspects and h brother killed in the shoot-out. u.s. embassy officials were the first to arrive in the russian republic of dagestan. we want to pause right now, bring you a story of hope as this city slowly tries to return to normal. several of the bombing victims are still in local hospitals this morning, but they are getting a visit from some very special people. the story from our chief washington correspond respondent, and the anchor of cnn's "the lead," jake tapper. >> obviously, she got her pretty lips from you. >> reporter: those who lost limbs fighting in the wars in iraq and afghanistan are offering hope to those who lost
himself in the boston terror attack. >> this doesn't matter. a change of scenery. >> for this woman and her 18-year-old daughter, they were at the boston marathon to cheer on celeste's sister. they were waiting by the finish line when the bombs that would change their lives forever exploded. celeste lost both of her legs. her daughter was wounded by shrapnel. >> i can't do anything right now. >> right now, yes. but i'm telling you with all my heart, you will be more independent than you ever were. >> reporter: this veteran, marine sergeant gabe ramirez, is a double amputee. doctors echo his optimism. >> almost all who lost limbs are walking the hauls with physical therapists. we are gearing up for a mass exodus to rehab. >> reporter: almost 100,000 have
lost one or both limbs since the wars in iraq and afghanistan. some wounded service members are even returning back to the combat zone. military medicine has fueled this advancement in prosthetics, but it's civilians in boston who will benefit this time. >> this is basically the start, you know, this is the new beginning for both of you. >> reporter: celeste is keeping up her spirits, even talking about running the boston marathon next year. >> i joked around, i'm not superathletic. i like to work out and stuff, but running has never been my thing, i always get the most horrible shin splits. i'm like, hey, i don't have shins anymore, i can do this! >> reporter: jake tapper, cnn, boston. >> in about 2 1/2 hours, the vice president joe biden will join the m.i.t. campus in honoring the police officer, sean collier at a memorial
service. our white house correspondent dan lothian continues our team coverage right now. joining us with more on what's going on. so the vice president will be here, there will be several thousand people honoring the police officer, dan. >> that's right, wolf. you remember the president went to boston last week, thursday for that interfaith meeting to honor all of those who had lost their lives in the boston bombing, and it was later that day, in fact, that evening, when officer collier was shot and killed, and so today the vice president and dr. biden will be going to this very public service that will be held there at m.i.t., along with some 10,000 other people expected to be there. the governor of the state. governor deval patrick and senator elizabeth warren. a private funeral service that was held yesterday, massachusetts, but this is a chance for the wider public, law enforcement officials from all across the country to pay tribute to this young officer,
senior administration official here at the white house telling me the white house will be speaking, he will be paying tribute to a young man who they say really lived his life to help other people. what's interesting about the young man, he was involved according to those who knew him, in more than just law enforcement efforts on the campus of m.i.t. also involved with the emt service, on campus ambulance service, offcampus, worked with an organization that worked to fight cancer. the effort will be to talk about the life of this young man, but also shine the spotlight on things he did well beyond law enforcement, wolf. >> reporter: clearly a wonderful, wonderful young man. 26 years old, sean collier and he had only been a police officer at m.i.t. for 16 months, but he was really beloved and also as you point out, he helped the hopeless in his community, just wonderful, wonderful things, and i understand he is
going to be receiving a medal, at this moving ceremony, in a couple of hours, is that right? >> the university has set up this fund and there is a fund to essentially create the collier medal and this is a medal that will be handed out to individuals who really demonstrate his values, what he stood for, the organizations he got involved with. this is clear a very tragic and difficult time, for the whole city of boston, particularly for the campus of m.i.t. and they are looking for a way to create a legacy, so when people look back on this moment, they won't focus on tragic things that happened, but will look at the life of this young man through the medal they will be handing out through individual individuals. >> dan lothian, thank you very much. coverage once the vice president is here in boston for the memorial service honoring sean collier. a fund to help those most affected in boston has just
passed the $21 million mark. boston mayor tom menino, came up for the idea for the one fund boston, spoke after the fund topped $20 million yesterday. menino introduced the washington attorney tim fineberg, himself a native of boston, that will oversee the distribution of the fund. fineberg previously administered a fund for the 9/11 victims. >> i am amazed. i am amazed in my experience to see this type of outpouring so quickly in such large amounts. after this horrific tragedy. one thing i've learned in all of these funds and this is the latest example, never underestimate the charitable impulse of the american people. >> fineberg plans to hold two
town hall meet negotiation boston next month so people can give their opinions on how the money should be distributed. fineberg also said the money should go to those who have suffered serious injuries or horrible losses, probably not to those who have had property damage, but we'll see what happens, at those two town hall meetings. coming up, we'll check other stories making news right now. floodwaters rising in the midwest, where thousands of people in illinois have already evacuated.
suspect to appear in court in 15 minutes. his alleged accomplice went before a judge on tuesday. the men are accuse of planning an al qaeda backed attack on a passenger train. the plot was not imminent and not linked to the boston marathon bombings. more rain is heading today to parts of the midwest and south, areas already dealing with major flooding. illinois is one of the hardest hit states with thousands of people forced out of their homes. the flooding is blamed for four deaths in the region. the justice department is suing lance armstrong and is seeking more than 100 million in damages. the lawsuit says the use of banned drugs was a breach of contract between armstrong's team and its sponsor, the u.s. postal service. we're now learning more than two months before the boston bombings, one of the suspects bought hundreds of dollars of
fireworks. report say tamerlan tsavraev, the older suspect, he's dead, traveled to new hampshire in he stopped at phantom fireworks and paid $200 in cash for mortar-style fireworks. store workers say he asked for the biggest and the loudest. but they also say they are pretty common -- that's pretty common behavior at their store. >> pretty much the only thing remarkable about him, he had a russian accent. we don't have too many with a russian accent. he wanted the biggest, loudest stuff in the store, pretty much run of the mill question that everybody asks who walks in the store. >> 75% of customers ask for the biggest bang of the buck. they want color and height and noise. >> the amount of fireworks that they bought there, nowhere near enough to make the bombs at the boston marathon and tsavraev probably used the fireworks to
experiment. >> just adhere in the "newsroom," a witness to two american tragedies. we'll introduce to you a man who survived the boston terror attack, only to watch the massive explosion in west, texas. we'll tell you thousand happened. ♪ [ male announcer ] just when you thought you had experienced performance a new ride comes along and changes everything. the 2013 lexus gs. this is the pursuit of perfection. the 2013 lexus gs. mornings are apecial time for the two of you...) and you can make them even more special... with fancy feast mornings. mornings are delicious protein-rich entrées... with garden veggies and egg. each one perfectly designed... to start her day with a little love. fancy feast mornings gourmet cat food.
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welcome back. there's new information coming in this morning. we're hearing now more about the dynamics of the suspects' family. a man who was married to the sister said the siblings all adored the older brother. that could support claims the younger brother was coaxed into radical islam because of the deepening extremism of the older brother. joining us on the phone is the brother-in-law of these two suspects. he was married to one of their sisters. thank you very much for joining us. there's a lot of interest now in this man identified as only by the name of misha, supposedly an armenia, who became a radical muslim. what can you tell us about misha
and supposedly his influence over the older brother? >> well, first of all, i want to express my condolences to all of those who lost their loved ones. i met misha. tamerlan introduced me to him. it seems to me that misha has influence on tamerlan because when -- for the reasons why tamerlan was boxing said that misha [ inaudible ] told me that boxing is violent.
>> do you believe he inspired the older brother to become a radio cal muslim? is that what i hear you saying? >> he surely did have influence and did teach him things that would make tamerlan go away from the people and go more into the religion. may be it is possible he suggested to him some radical ideas. i didn't witness him making him radical or i didn't witness him [ inaudible ] i just know tamerlan told me that he quit boxing and music because misha was teaching him that it's not good in islam to do those
things. >> what was victor's -- what was victor's last name? do you know his full name misha? >> i don't know his full name. i only met him twice. tamerlan told me this is misha, my friend. he lives in the u.s. for a while now. that's pretty much it. i heard them speak to each other but i didn't listen to what misha's words too much. >> did you ever suspect that misha was connected directly to any terror groups? >> i didn't suspect him or tamerlan being connected to terror groups or having terrorist ideas, but i know they
had a lot of conversations about just, you know, islam and how islam is being attacked from the outside -- from the western countries and how islam is under pressure, but i never heard them speak of doing -- having terrorist attack ideas. >> when did you notice a change in tamerlan? when did you see him becoming more religious, more devout, if you will? >> it was when he was 22. he just graduated from high school, and he didn't get into college right away.
so he was having, i guess, difficulties finding himself. at some point, he started being interested in not just religion and islam, but he also read other philosophers and he read some teachers. he read ghandi. that is his background. that's what islam was his choice at first. then he started changing towards being somewhat radical. he would always support ideas of, you know, being -- praying five times a day. he was going to mosque regularly. he started doing it when he was
about 22, 23, maybe. you know, he was always try to protect many conversations. he would try to protect his ideas and defend islam, maybe even sometimes defend, you know, people in other countries like afghanistan [ inaudible ]. >> tell us about the younger brother dzhokhar tsarnaev, the 19-years-old who is now in a hospital here in boston. who was he like? >> he was really calm guy. to me, he was the little brother of my friend. he was -- there was never a suspicion that he would be doing
something like this. he seemed really smart. he was getting really good grades at school. he would always listen to his parents, not like tamerlan who had his own ideas. but jahar would be more humble and more patient. he was nice. he is smiling. it didn't seem like he had been depressed ever or unhappy with anything. honestly to me, maybe he got under the influence of his older brother. >> do you believe he was brainwashed by his older brother? >> i believe he was just may be
obeying him because he is the elder brother and yes, i know they love -- the sisters and the brother dzhokhar thought of tamerlan as their role model. i believe he didn't question much. i believe that he didn't put any suspicion -- he didn't put any questions at all on what tamerlan was doing. he just did what tamerlan said. he respected him. [ inaudible ] he respected him as one would respect his father. >> what do you think when you first heard these two brothers were the suspects in the boston marathon bombing attacks?
>> well, i opened up the news online and i saw the pictures suspect number one and the picture of tamerlan and i recognized him right away. i jumped up and said, oh, my god. this is not happening. i was hoping it was a mistake, but then i read the names and it was not a mistake. it's happening. >> have you been interviewed by the fbi? >> no. never. >> and if they ask for your -- if they wanted to get your thoughts on what was going on, would you be open to helping the u.s. investigation in the bombings? >> absolutely. i think anyone in her family would be willing to help, to
find out what happened, what was going on in his head or who helped him if there was anyone who helped him. >> bottom line, do you believe the allegations against these two brothers are true, that they planted these two bombs that killed three people, injured more than 250 other people? do you believe these allegations? >> i believe that jahar admitted and only since he did admit it, that's when i started believing him. i hoped they didn't do it. i hoped they were innocent. i believe that this happened -- they were being hunted down for a reason. i was hoping it wasn't them. i was hoping it was a mistake,
but since jahar admitted it or gave thoughts on it, i know believe that they did it. >> what caused that -- what happened here? why did these two brothers go down this path as alleged by federal authorities? how does this happen to two normal guys growing up in the boston area all of a sudden move in this other direction, if these allegations are true? >> i think that somebody did have influence on the elder brother. and the olderer brother has influence on the younger one. i don't think that anyone who was mentally normal would be
wishing to hurt someone else. i believe people are good within themselves. knowing tamerlan for a few years, i remember him as a good person, as a good friend, but he was searching for religion and i believe that someone helped him -- directed him in the wrong direction. so i think it lies somewhere nearby in america in boston. i believe there are people who if they didn't make him, they planned it, maybe their idea, that he could do such a thing. i'm not saying it's not his fault. i'm saying that i hope that he wasn't, you know, the only one.
i hope that there are other people we can still find and we can still question and we can still maybe stop if they're planning something else. but with regards to jahar, i really believe that he -- i'm not saying he's innocent, but i believe he was under the influence of the elder brother and he was not realizing what he was doing. he was too young. he's just 19 now. that's just a starting point in life. probably his life is ruined now, but i still hope that he will seek forgiveness from those he hurt and i hope that people will find strength and maybe forgive him. and i personally want to [ inaudible ] who was hurt
[ inaudible ] who was touched by [ inaudible ]. >> you were married to the sister -- one of the sisters of these two brothers. i understand you're no longer married. you're divorced. have you spoken to the sister about this whole case? unfortunately, i think we lost our connection with him. he was joining us from al ma di. he was telling us about his concerns about the younger brother being influenced obviously dramatic by the older brother. some insight from this former brother-in-law of these two suspects. once good morning. i am wolf blitzer reporting live
if boston. several developments coming out of boston this morning. let's get you caught up on what's going on right now. this morning boylston street has reopened. the epicenter of the city's terror is now back in business, reopening to pedestrian, not yet for vehicles. insult to injury, the families of those wounded in the attacks are outraged. their demanding the terror suspect bemoved from the same hospital. the next stop in the investigation becoming dagestan. u.s. officials arrive in the southern russian republic to interview the parents of the accused killer. we established our contact with the ex-husband of one of tamerlan's sisters. can you hear me once again? this is wolf blitzer in boston.
>> i can hear you. can you hear me. >> i hear you fine. i want to button up this conversation and i'll ask you a few blunt questions and you can give me your analysis. when was the last time you personally spoke with these two brothers? >> i believe it was 2010. >> 2010. where were you and where were they? >> i came to cambridge to pick up my son from them, that is my first wife. she had him at that time. that's when i spoke to both of them, last time. >> at that time, how did they appear to you in 2010? >> they were normal guys. both of them.
although like jahar was still in school, you know, and he was always busy doing school work. tamerlan -- we didn't talk for a long time, but we asked each other how it was going. he seemed happy. it seemed [ inaudible ] i was looking at him and he seemed normal, not depressed. he only told me he goes to the mosque often and he's doing community work at the mosque. that's all i got from him in my last conversation. >> have you had any recent conversations with your former wife, the sister of these two brothers? >> yes, but those are only connected to our child.
>> in recent days have you spoken with your ex-wife? >> no. i wasn't able to come to be there -- any one of people in the family, except for uncles. i couldn't speak with the parents. i couldn't speak with the sisters. >> do you believe these two brothers acted alone or were involved in any other terror groups? >> i believe that there are other people involved. >> when you say other people involved, what does that mean? >> i mean, some extremists, terrorists. not terrorists, but extremely radical people. don't want to point out the religion itself because it is a
peaceful religion, but there are people who take it the wrong way probably. i believe yes, there are some people involved. i don't blame the special -- the secret service. i don't blame the fbi. i don't believe in framing. i do believe someone preached tamerlan so much -- or religious groups in boston. i don't believe dagestan is involved in it. i am confident that dagestan is not involved. i am confident that chechnya is not involved. not any other countries tamerlan visited in the last 20 years. [ inaudible ]. >> do you believe they had a
assistance, either technical assistance or financial assistance in building those bombs? no audio. i don't know if we've lost contact with you. can you hear me? unfortunately, we have lost contact. he's on a cell phone. he is joining us from al ma di. that's the capital of ka zik stan. we'll try to reconnect. you just heard him say he does believe others were involved with these two brothers in potentially radicalizing them and maybe even providing assistance. we'll try to reconnect with this former brother-in-law. he is 26-years-old. once again joining us from ska zach stan. let's move on and check out some other developments. the u.s. wants to question the bombing suspects parents at
their home in southern russian. a delegation has arrived there this morning. the suspects' mother says she believes her two sons were framed. the russian government is cooperating in the investigation right now. some u.s. senators are defending the fbi saying they don't believe the agency dropped the ball on case of tamerlan tsarnaev. they didn't find anything in 2011. joe johns is joining us now from washington. a lot of people are wondering if the fbi missed something when the russians first tipped them off about tamerlan tsarnaev, the older brother. what's the latest there in washington? >> reporter: that certainly is the question right now. some of this is about the federal databases.
the issue is whether tamerlan tsarnaev's movements between here and russian slipped through a security net. >> reporter: he first hit the fbi radar in 2011 when the russian government told the agency they should check him out. >> the russian fsb sent a letter to the fbi and other agencies that we think this guy has become radical. >> reporter: the fbi said it was based on information that he was a following of islam, a radical believe, he changed drastically in 2010. fbi says it checked u.s. government databases, telephone km communications and online activity. the fbi says it did not find any terrorism activities, so it gave
that information to russia and ask for but did not receive additional information. >> because additional information didn't come in, then the fbi says for our purposes under our system and all the investigation we're allowed to do here, it hasn't risen to the level to warrant further investigation. tamerlan was not on a terror watch list or any no fly list because the u.s. never deemed him a threat. there were no alarm bells when he came back to the u.s. six month later. >> by the time he returned, the matter had been closed. >> reporter: even so it is not clear if the department of homeland security even knew that tsarnaev was on the fbi radar. >> we're trying to make sure that all of that information was available was shared.
if it wasn't, then there may be somebody who dropped the ball. >> reporter: tsarnaev's name had also been misspelled in a u.s. database that looks for suspicious activity. a redundant system picked him up. >> more briefings today up on capitol hill. the house intelligence committee is going to be briefed by authorities. is that true? >> yeah. that was my understanding the last time i checked. all looking into many of these questions. and a lot of them still unresolved as it stands right now. >> joe johns reporting for us. we're still continuing to try to reconnect with the exbrother-in-law of the tsarnaev brothers. he's in ka zach stan right now. you heard him suggest that perhaps other people were
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dramatic reopening of boylston street here in the heart of boston. brooke baldwin is standing by over there. crews have replaced the bricks and repaired the damaged sidewalk. set the scene for us. >> good morning. i don't think normal is really the right word here in boston. today feels half ka that are tick. we're in the middle of the back bay in boston. this is boylston street now reopened. just down the street is where those two explosions went off. the street as you can see, all the cars and the traffic, it has
reopened. out of respect to the victims, i don't want to walk down there. they're laying new concrete, replacing shop glass. walking around here, we're not too far from that. this is the memorial. initially this memorial had been set up down the road because boylston had been shut off. they brought these three crosses for the three young victims who were killed a week ago last mon monday. i just want to walk you around. people are here, people from boston and not from boston. a lot of te di bears, a lot of sweatshirts that say boston strong. red sox over here.
let me walk you back this way. we have someone here who volunteered at the marathon last monday. he is here. like so many people he wanted to pay his respects. you were there at the beginning of the marathon. you saw the smoke. now that we have boylston street reopened today, help people who don't know boston real well why the reopening is significant? >> i work around here on newbury street. it feels like you're going back into a routine, going back into your normal life, i guess. people are still coping with the stress that was last week. it is pretty significant that people are able to walk around. i can go get my groceries again. kind of moving on, i think is what everyone is more or less feeling. >> walking around seeing the
green line back open, seeing the busses with we are boston strong. what does boston strong really mean? >> it means we per ser veered. i think that's what it means. people united in this terrible tragedy and have been able to, i guess, move on. hopefully this is just like a one time thing, and it doesn't -- i think that's what it means. >> begin to heal? >> yes. >> thank you. walk with me. so many people here, little kids and adults, they wanted to visit and wanted to write their own
messages. let me just read a couple of these for you. peace for boston and all of the world. over here, moving here so proud to call this city home and its people my friends. boston stay strong right here. prayers for the families of those lost and the boston community. we are strong. it is a sense of strength that i think is brings this community back together here. i just got handed a thank you that is saying thanks for your coverage. this has been a tough story for everyone here. people are ready to heal and not move on, but move forward. wolf. >> brooke baldwin, over there on boylston street, which has now reopened. i want to thank the mayor of boston. he said nice words about the
media. it was nice to hear the mayor say some nice words about the media. let's bring in juliette kayyem. the heart of boston seems to slowly but surely coming back. >> that's right. some people still can't get into certain areas. classes are back on, kids are back in school. he wants it to be a transparent and open process. it is starting to seem very, very familiar. >> the investigation -- i don't know if you heard the interview. i spoke with the exbrother-in-law of the two suspects. he says there was this individual, he only knew him by the name of misha that seemed to
have an influence over the older brother, tamerlan and moved him toward a more radical islam. what, if anything, does that say to federal authorities in the investigation? >> one is the why? how did the radicalization process happened? that is a question the fbi is sorting through. that is an important part of this. the other side and maybe it's confusing to viewers. on one hand we hear there's international connections. that's where there is another piece of investigation on this domestic side. did they plan this whole thing by themselves? even though they were motivated by stuff abroad. >> if in fact, this misha did
have influence over tamerlan the older brother, was misha acting alone? that would be another route they would have to start going down. >> that's where all these investigations are going to head. you're going to see a lot more about what they were doing here in the lead up to the boston marathon. there is a credibility issue at this stage with the family members. they're coming out with inconsistent stories about who the brothers were. part of the investigation is actually going to be a credibility investigation because this is a family that is looking out to protect what they can of a remaining reputation. >> we're hearing one thing from the mother in dagestan. the two sons were framed by the fbi. the father not going down that route. now this brother-in-law
suggesting that the allegations -- he believe they were probably true. >> that is consistent in a lot of these actions, there is the father figure or senior figure who has sway over the younger one. we saw it in column bien with the an older and younger character. maybe one of the reasons why the younger brother now -- he is communicating about what he knows about the plan and what he knows about what his brother did. >> a good criminal defense lawyer -- you're a lawyer -- if they make the younger brother is going to be tried with a death sentence, if in fact they make the case he was brainwashed by his older brother, perhaps a jury would say he doesn't deserve the death penalty. >> that will be a defense. there are a lot of questions about whether a trial will actually occur. if he has pled, there may be all
variations of a trial to occur, including something boston has been to be prepared for is whether a trial really happen here. a good defense attorney is going to say there's no way we can get an objective crime if boston. >> timothy mcveigh committed his crime in oklahoma city but he was tried in indiana. thanks very much. we're back in a moment with more from what's going on here in boston. stay with me. boom. heart attack. the doctor recommends bayer aspirin to keep this from happening to me again. it's working. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen. it can happen to anyone. talk to your doctor.
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are outraged. their demanding the terror suspect we moved from the same hospital the victims are recovering. u.s. officials arriving in the southern russian republic. millions of people watched last week's shootout from the safety of their homes, but one man was too close to the action because it was taking place right in his front yard. jake tapper has his story. >> cars were stopped right in front here. it was roughly 75, 80 yards from here. >> reporter: the 26-year-old had the prez sense of mind to start taking pictures with his iphone. he walked us through what he
experienced that night. >> as soon as i saw it was gunfire, i ran immediately up the stairs to my bedroom on the third floor. i got my camera right up against the windows and the glass, continuing to take photos of the shooters. >> reporter: describe what we're seeing here. >> this was one of the first pictures i took. it was the two shooters that were taking cover behind the black suv and still engaging in gunfire and shooting down towards the watertown officers. >> that's the dwregreen sedans e they had pipe bombs and explosives? >> yes. >> reporter: they were both firing? >> yeah. >> reporter: what's going through your mind when you're taking these pictures.
>> not officially. i wasn't thinking marathon. when they started usie ining explosives, that's when i knew it was something much for significant. >> were you worried for your life? >> at that moment, taking pictures, i was more so in state of a shock and was terrified. not enough to stop -- or to get away from the windows. after that larger explosion and there was a smoke cloud in the street, one of the brothers ran towards the officers. >> the older brother? >> uh-huh. he was running down the street engaging in gunfire. as he got closer to the officers, he was taken down. when they happened, the second -- got back into the suv and turned around. >> reporter: four and a half days later, adrenaline is still
running high on this street. >> what point did the bullet go through your roommates wall and into his chair? >> i don't know. i took a picture after the gunfire had stopped. >> reporter: a bullet was fired from that direction where the police were and it went through the second floor here through his calendar, through his desk chair and landed on the ground thankfully not hitting any person. jake tapper, cnn. also knnew this morning, shocking claims from a man who was married to the sister of tamerlan and dzhokhar tsarnaev. he doesn't believe they acted alone and he echoed the concerns of other relatives as well. he think tamerlan's extremism
was influenced by misha, an armenian friend of the older brother who coached him in his strict muslim believes. here is what the former brother-in-law had to say to me only a few minutes ago. >> i met misha. tamerlan introduced me to him. well, it seemed to me misha has influence on tamerlan because when i asked -- for the reasons why tamerlan quit boxing, he said that misha [ inaudible ] boxing is violent [ inaudible ]. also when tamerlan quit music [ inaudible ]. >> do you believe -- do you
believe he inspired the older brother to become a radical muslim? is that what i hear you saying? >> i'm not sure if he inspired or taught him to be radical islamist, but he surely did have influence and did teach him things that made tamerlan, you know, go away from the people and go more into the religion and maybe, maybe that's possible that he suggested to him some radical ideas, but i wouldn't say that -- i mean, i didn't witness him making him radical or, you know, i didn't witness him say things [ inaudible ] to this. i just know tamerlan told me he quit boxing and music because misha was, you know, teaching him that it's not good in islam
to do those things. >> what was misha's last name? do you know his full name? >> no, i don't know his full name. i only met him twice and we just shook hands and tamerlan told me this is misha my friend. he is an armenian that converted to islam. that's pretty much hit. i heard them speak to each other, but i didn't listen to misha's words too much because, you know, i don't like talking about religion so much. >> did you ever suspect that misha was connected directly to any terror groups? >> i didn't suspect either him or tamerlan being connected to terror groups or having terrorist ideas, but i know that
they had a lot of conversations about just, you know, islam and how islam is being attacked from the outside -- you know from the western countries and how islam is under pressure, but i never heard them speak of, you know, doing -- having terrorist attacks ideas, i guess. >> when did you notice a change in tamerlan? when did he -- when did you see him becoming more -- more religious, more devout, if you will? >> it was when he was 22, 21, 22. he just graduated from high school and he didn't get into college right away.
so he was having difficulties finding himself and at some point he started being interested in not just religion and islam, but he also read other philosophers and read con fushs. he read ghandi. he came out closer to islam because that is his background. that's what his family believes. he started changing. he started changing towards being somewhat radical, yeah. he would always support ideas of, you know, being -- pray five times a day. he was going to mosque regularly, start doing it when
he was about 22, 23, maybe. he would always protect -- try to protect many conversation. he would try to protect his ideas and defend islam and maybe even sometimes defend, you know, people in other countries like, i guess, afghanistan. they were invaded for no reason or something like that. >> tell us about the younger brother dzhokhar tsarnaev, the 19-year-old who is now in a hospital here in boston. what was he like? >> he was really calm guy. to me, he was the little brother of my friend. he was -- there was never a suspicion that he would be doing
something wrong or -- he seemed really smart. he was getting good grades at school, and he would always listen to his parents, not like tamerlan who would occasionally stand up and state his own ideas. >> my interview with the former brother-in-law, the two boston bombing suspects. we spoke just a little while ago. he's in al ma di. he is 26-years-old. the same age as the older brother who died in the shootout with police. meanwhile the m.i.t. police officer is being remembered this afternoon by the staff, the student, the students he swore to protect, and police who are coming in from all over the country. another special guest will be there to pay tribute to this
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in a little more than an hour from now, the vice president will join the m.i.t. campus in honoring the police officer sean collier at a memorial service. collier was killed thursday night. he was shot several times. it was the first of several incidents that evening. police believe that were related to the suspected bombers. m.i.t. students and staff have created a makeshift memorial on campus. joining us now is dan lothian. the vice president will be here, his wife will be here. this will be a pretty moving ceremony honoring this 26-year-old police officer.
dan. >> reporter: it really will be wolf. it is a difficult time for those in the boston area dealing with the aftermath of the bombings. the vice president taking part in the memorial service. the vice president will be delivering remarks during the noon service that will be praying tribute to someone who did what he could to help other people. there was a private funeral for officer collier yesterday, but this is again a more public affair. 10,000 people not only those in the m.i.t. community, but law enforcement officials from all other the country. he was involved in much more than law enforcement. he was involved with the ambulance service on campus. he helped out organizations that were fighting cancer. someone who everyone has something good to say about
today. getting the spotlight shined on his life and all the kacauses h supported. >> he will be remembered by a medal in his honor. >> reporter: mit saying they have set up a fund. this fund will support the collier medal. this is something that will be handed out to individuals who sort of have his kind of values and support the kind of causes he has supported. this is something they want to establish so it will more than just a tragedy that is the center of his life. >> dan lothian, over at white house for us. we'll have coverage of the memorial service. just ahead here in the "cnn newsroom," we're going to introduce you to a man who
survived the boston terror attacks, but only days later became a witness to a massive explosion in texas. before copd... i took my son fishing every year. we had a great spot, not easy to find, but worth it. but with copd making it hard to breathe, i thought those days might be over. so my doctor prescribed symbicort. it helps significantly improve my lung function starting within five minutes. symbicort doesn't replace a rescue inhaler for sudden symptoms. with symbicort, today i'm breathing better.
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we'll continue our special coverage from here in boston in just a moment. first we're waiting for some new pictures coming in from the blast site over at that fertilizer plant in texas. the plant exploded last week. reports will be allowed inside that blast side in little more than an hour by now. one man certainly witnessed that massive explosion in texas just days after surviving the boston marathon bombings.
gary tuchman has his incredible story. >> reporter: joe and amy look at this at a very different advantage point than others, so unique it is hard to contempl e contemplate. >> we feel blessed we are both okay and that we're sitting here talking to you today. >> reporter: joe's story begins last week in boston. he was running for a charity. this picture was taken at the finish line just seconds after he crossed. >> amy was 10 feet from the first explosion. >> reporter: was wife was very close, but not injured. meanwhile amy had no idea where her husband was and grew panicked when she couldn't reach
him on his cell. >> it was the worst hour of my life. >> reporter: amy went back to her hotel. >> i opened the door to our hotel room and thank god there he was. >> tell me how you felt when you saw her. >> it was incredible. we were both very happy we had found each other. not knowing was the worst thing. >> reporter: joe and amy through back to texas to reunit with their children. joe had a business trip so he drove from austin to dallas. to get back to austin, you have to drive an interstate through this town, the town of west, x texas. he was stunned to see huge plumes of smoke. >> right out of the middle of the black smoke came a giant explosion. i saw a fire ball and a giant
cloud of smoke. it was so big and so loud. it shook my car when i was driving. i heard something that hit the top of my car and i hopp eped o and took a picture. >> reporter: you must be thinking to yourself, i went through this on monday. >> yes. is it another terrorist attack? was it a bomb? it was so massive. >> in 43 years have you ever been near a bombing before? >> no. >> and it happened twice in three days. >> yes. i said you'll never believe this but i've seen another explosion and started to describe it to her. her first reaction was get home as quick as you can. >> reporter: that joe did, returning home to a wife and children who want him to stick around for a while.
gary tuchman, cnn. we'll take a quick break. we'll be back in a moment with more of our special coverage. [ agent smith ] i've found software that intrigues me. it appears it's an agent of good. ge has wired their medical hardware with innovative software to be in many places at the same time. using data to connect patients to software, to nurses to the right people and machines. ♪ helping hospitals treat people even better, while dramatically reducing waiting time. now a waiting room is just a room. [ telephone ringing ] [ static warbles ]
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